Intellectual Property Activities
Promoting the use of patent information and strengthening group collaborations
To sharpen AISIN Group’s competitive edge, our intellectual property division is involved from the product planning stage, researching patent information to assess our competitors’ patent portfolios and development trends. This not only steers our development but provides intellectual property support for group collaborations in up-and-coming growth areas.
We are working to increase group collaboration in intellectual property management by consolidating work such as research, patenting and acquisition and updating of rights for all trademarks held by the 13 main group companies. We are also carrying out group-wide measures to streamline our trademark management and improve reliability regarding quality in our processes.
We also place a strong focus on strengthening intellectual property activities that assist in the creation of new business, in addition to protection and guarantees of intellectual property to make our existing businesses more competitive.
Clarivate Analytics has selected us for the Clarivate Top 100 Global Innovators* for seven years running.
*Clarivate Analytics analyzes intellectual property and patent trends based on its patent data and gives awards to companies and organization that demonstrate the best performance in the world in research and development and intellectual property management.
ITC Investigation over Alleged Patent Infringement:
The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) launched an investigation on April 2017 into 25 companies, including Aisin (Former Aisin Seiki) and its subsidiaries over alleged patent infringements. USITC prove was based on a complaint filed by Intellectual Ventures II LLC (IV) who alleged that these companies infringed its patents on certain thermoplastic-encapsulated electric motors and violated the Tariff Act of 1930.
(1) Summary of Investigation at The U.S. International Trade Commission
On March 21, 2017, IV filed a complaint with USITC against 25 companies that include our customers, us and our affiliates, alleging violations of the Tariff Act of 1930. Based on a complaint alleging that electric motors infringe IV’s patents, USITC started an investigation on April 28, 2017, but the investigation was terminated on September 19, 2017 after it was discovered that IV had not been assigned the patents from the patent holder.
Having acquired the patents from the patent holder, IV filed another complaint with similar content regarding IV's patents with USITC on September 5, 2017. Although USITC launched an investigation on October 4, 2017, USITC concluded on July 19, 2019 that there was no violation of the Tariff Act of 1930, and terminated the investigation.
Separately, on June 9, 2017, we started challenging the validity of IV's patents at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). USPTO decided to invalidate IV's patents on February 4, 2019 and February 26, 2019.
On March 29, 2019 and April 24, 2019, IV appealed the decisions of USPTO in the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), but CAFC affirmed the decisions of USPTO on March 23, 2020 and May 15, 2020. Thereafter, there was no appeal against the judgment of CAFC and the judgment became final.
We have taken seriously the fact that this incident has caused significant concern and inconvenience to our stakeholders, including our customers.
(2) Statement for the future
We will respect all intellectual property rights, both our own and those of other companies, which are the foundation of industry and innovation, and will take a firm position against any unreasonable allegation against our products or business.